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Best Defenders In The 2024 NBA Draft

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While offense sells tickets, there is still no shortage of teams looking for defensive prospects to impact the game.

Looking at the last five years, no NBA championship team has ever ranked lower than seventh in overall team defense. It’s fair to say that without a top-10 overall team defense, there’s no realistic shot of winning a championship.

With that being said, the name of the game on defense in today’s league is versatility. Wing defenders are always at a premium, but paint protectors with mobility are valuable as well.

Let’s take a look at some of the best defensive prospects in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Best Defenders In The 2024 NBA Draft

Ryan Dunn: Virginia

This list has to start with Ryan Dunn. Dunn has played himself into serious lottery consideration with virtually no offensive production. That’s just how good his defense is.

At six-foot-eight, Dunn is a hyper-athletic wing that should be able to comfortably guard every position outside of center. If NBA teams can put Dunn in lineups that cover his offensive limitations, he’ll prove extremely productive just about anywhere.

Kevin McCullar: Kansas

Kevin McCullar has consistently placed himself on draft boards in the late first round. At six-foot-six, he has the size and defensive instincts to match up with a lot of guards and wings in the NBA.

He’s always been a defensive prospect, but his increased usage and offensive growth have really unlocked his draft stock. He’s flashed some ability to be a kind of point forward this season, having multiple triple-doubles under his belt.

Alexandre Sarr: Perth Wildcats (NBL Australia)

One of many in consideration at number one overall, Alexandre Sarr is seen as one of the safer prospects. This perceived safety comes from his easy defensive projection. Sarr is blocking shots at a very high rate using his elite fluidity and athleticism at seven-foot-one. This mobility has also allowed him to sometimes switch onto smaller defenders and impact the game on the wings.

While offensive upside will determine how high Sarr goes, he is still one of the best defensive prospects in class.

Ja’Kobe Walter: Baylor

Also making the ‘best shooters’ list, Ja’Kobe Walter projects as an easy 3-and-D wing. His six-foot-five height is solid, but he boasts what many assume to be a nearly seven-foot wingspan.

This combination of length and good strength on the ball sets him up to become a valuable defensive prospect. On the court this season, Walter has been as steady as they come. He’s provided ample tape that proves the projections are accurate, and it should eventually make him a top-10 pick.

Kobe Johnson: USC

In his junior season, Kobe Johnson is trying to cash in on the 3-and-D projections that many hoped he would become. The ‘D’ in the equation has never really been the issue.

Johnson is a smooth six-foot-six wing that should be able to defend guards and small forwards. He has quick feet and solid length on the ball, but he’s also a disruptor chasing screens and in passing lanes. Already one of the better defensive prospects in the class, he needs to continue to show better percentages on offense. He will hope to hear his name on draft night after showing increased three-point volume and playmaking flashes.

Devin Carter: Providence

Devin Carter will hope to be a taller version of Pelican’s fiery defensive point guard Jose Alvarado. Carter’s defensive ability isn’t as potent or talked about as much as others on this list. This is mostly due to his lack of an elite grade in height, length, or athleticism. While Carter may not be the fastest or most athletic, he makes up for it with physicality and energy.

Carter stands at six-foot-three and tries to keep constant pressure as an on-ball defender. He’s also adept as a team defender and chasing through screens for steals. He’s been seen as streaky on offense up to this point, but he’s had big scoring outings that may give teams confidence.


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